So frustrated. And torn. Haven’t been able to write lately because I’ve been too busy hitting the backspace button. A whole mess of stories centered around relationships and interactions with girlfriends, in-laws, DH and the kids have been started and scrapped. For no matter which way my fingers run on the keyboard, they inevitably hit a cross-road that confronts any writer sharing the more intimate, reflective and normally private parts of his/her life with the world. You see, I want to write about the hardest lessons and most sensitive topics that life’s circumstances, choices and interactions have thrown in my face because I’m sure these uncomfortable experiences aren’t unique to me and might resonate with you. At the same time, life isn’t lived in a vacuum, so I recognize the reality that my stories are in part the stories of many whom I hold dear.
So the struggle is the constant dichotomy between my desire to be open and vulnerable in my writing and my fear and circumvention of hurting, offending or embarrassing others who’d be portrayed in my stories, and portrayed in a subjective light. (After all, isn’t any endeavor to be perfectly objective inherently flawed?) Darn 20-20 hindsight. I wish I’d thought to launch this blog with total anonymity, using a pseudonym. For to me, the shame and irony are that the stories that may be the most compelling, eye-opening and perhaps (quietly) universal are the ones that can’t, or shouldn’t, be told because they could jeopardize the fragile personal relationships that taught me those hardest-learned lessons.
And then, to make things worse, a friend recently asked, “Do you ever worry that we’re making women feel bad about themselves?” What?! No, I haven’t, because that would go against all I intended or hoped for in sharing my experiences and thoughts – bringing laughter, fellowship, comfort, contentment, encouragement, hope and perhaps even some inspiration and self-discovery along the way. I suppose I could write about and depict only the more “becoming” or glamorous aspects of my life, but that would be a misrepresentation, moreover, one that’s neither loving nor fearless. So I chose a different route. And I thought my writing and Instagram posts made self-evident these truths: I don’t have all my sh*t together (yet) and I’m not nearly as good (remember that ingrate who once cursed God?), gracious (oh, my ugly moods sure ain’t pretty), fearless (I’ve got some mild phobias about frogs, insects, nutritional cleanses and my Krav Maga instructor’s girlfriend), or composed (recall those confessions of a “spirited” mom?) as I someday hope to be.
Rather, I can be a bit scatterbrained, quirky, prone to mishaps and embarrassing situations, hot-tempered, rash, dated and aging (despite all efforts to the contrary), and occasionally, a bit loud, obnoxious or melodramatic. We all have our unique and particular histories, personalities, lifestyles, opinions and philosophies, and you may not always agree with me, nor I with you, but I’d like at least to be your ally and supporter, a woman to commiserate with, and a friend with whom to laugh.
So, here’s my pledge both to you and to me. I started out on this blogging adventure wanting to build connection, to tell the stories of the heart that so many of us keep hidden for whatever reasons – we may be apprehensive, reserved, perfectionist, ashamed, or afraid of judgment or gossip, or we may sometimes just feel all alone in the world. Been there, done that; it’s a lonely way to live. And I detest the very idea of fear driving anything I do or don’t do. So I’m going to keep telling it as boldly and compassionately as I can. For I trust that in the sharing and discovered commonality of the emotions and struggles behind our untold (or barely scratched-on the-surface) stories, experiences and issues, there could be relief, camaraderie, hope and wisdom shared. How extraordinary would it be if we could all speak truth with grace and courage, and also receive truth with grace and courage? That is my fervent hope.